June 24 – Saint John the Baptist
Today we cross the Threshold of St. John of Summer, the Baptist the Initiate of the Aquarium that inaugurates a new Era of the World from the Region of Cancer. As Nature pours out her soul in beauty, let her baptize us in her own water so that the Cosmic Ego descends into us.
St. John’s Tide:
The radiant beauty of the world
Compels my inmost soul to free
God-given powers of my nature
That they may soar into the cosmos,
To take wing from myself
And trustingly to seek myself
In cosmic light and cosmic warmth.
– Rudolf Steiner, The Soul Calendar
The 24th of June is celebrated St. John the Baptist, the Gate of Cancer, the Gate of Humanity, from which the spirit is born in matter. It is the polar festival in St. John the Evangelist of Winter, celebrated on December 27, the Door of Capricorn, from which matter returns to the spirit.
Both Gates of the two Johns announce their complete entry into the atmosphere of their own season: where in the Winter Solstice the Sun is at its lowest external splendour, in the Summer Solstice it is at its highest external splendour. St. John the Baptist celebrates the greatest external splendour, the coming of Christ in Jesus of Nazareth; while St. John the Evangelist celebrates the greatest internal splendour, the birth of the inner Christ in the manger of the human physical body as well as of the Earth.
The Ancient Indian Era, the 1st Epoch of Culture, was the Era of Cancer of the 5th Post-Atlantic Era and therefore corresponds to the Gate of Cancer, in which humanity descended into the Maya of the physical-material world.
John the Baptist is the “voice that cries in the desert”, in the era of humanity when everything seemed lost. He announced the coming of someone who, greater than him, would lead to the turning point of time through the Mystery of Golgotha: “There will be no greater one”.
“After me comes someone who is stronger than me and to whom I am not worthy to bend down to loosen the laces of his sandals. I have baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
The Baptist is the Aquarius, baptizing with the descending Water: he purifies the astral so that the Spirit descends from Heights. He was the last prophet of the Old Testament, the one who foretells the coming of Christ and baptizes Jesus of Nazareth.
He must grow and I must diminish.
– John 3:30
The lower self, the personality formed by the physical, etheric and astral, must give way to the spiritual self, the inner Christ who finally comes to incarnate in the lower bodies to transmute and redeem them.
This is how the Lunar Karma, the karma of the Moon, the entrance of the luciferic influence and the expulsion from Paradise, is overcome through the freedom of the Sun, the influence of Christ. The necessity of the Law of the Taglione and the brotherhood of the blood of the Old Testament, must now see the step to the Law of Love united with the Freedom and brotherhood of the New Testament spirit.
The Baptist is beheaded by order of Herod, so it is through self-sacrifice that the Baptist completes the transmutation of the astral body into the Spiritual Self. He becomes the group soul of the disciples gathered around Jesus Christ, uniting them on a higher plane. At the same time he unites himself in the ego with his namesake, Lazarus-John the Evangelist.